What are sweetbreads?

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Sweetbreads are the thymus glands of a young animal, typically lamb or veal.  They have a mild flavor and a rich, creamy texture.  They’re one of the most prized organ meats (offal) and are a luxury ingredient.  Of the two varieties, veal sweetbreads are typically considered the best.

Veal sweetbreads have two lobes, which can be sold separately, so when shopping for them you may see two varieties: “throat” sweetbreads (aka “regular” sweet breads), which are longer and thinner, and “heart” sweetbreads (aka “belly” or “jumbo”), which are larger and rounder.

Like most other offal cuts, sweetbreads are quite perishable, so they’re often sold frozen.

– Question Submitted by Jeff G.

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